sail on

The “Great TA”, Tom Allen, has sailed across the finish line for the last time.  A man of few words, but much accomplishment, never one to brag or boast yet he taught legions of us many things by leading through quiet example.  A master of boat speed, and brilliant with tactics, lessons learned there came at the expense of following his transom.  Perhaps the best lesson all of us learned from him was the first time you tried to cross him on port, he’d instantly have another gear, AND be able to point 3 degrees higher.  At the next cross, you remembered to have ample room ahead.

He didn’t excel in just Lightning’s either.  He sailed Finn’s, FD’s and Tempests in Olympic trials, Solings a bit too.  Finished second in two Olympic trials, and won countless regattas in other classes, in addition to his multiple District, North American and Worlds Lighting championships.

But thing people will remember the most about the Great TA is a trait he shared with his late father in law, Karl Smither, the ability to win, and lose, with a dignity that is all too uncommon these days.  Like Elvstrom told us, he won the race, and he had our respect.

The Lightning Class has a tribute here. Granddaughter Shelby Allen has an excellent FB post about him here. The sport lost a great one who made us all better sailors, and people.  Sail on, TA.

There is a discussion thread here.

Peter Huston